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Pandora's Promise (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 15 November 2013 (UK)
2:29 | Trailer

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A feature-length documentary about the history and future of nuclear power. The film explores how and why mankind's most feared and controversial technological discovery is now passionately... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
... Himself - Founder & Publisher, Whole Earth Catalog
Richard Rhodes ... Himself - Author, The Making of the Atomic Bomb
Gwyneth Cravens ... Herself - Author, Power to Save the World
... Himself - Environmental Activist
Michael Shellenberger ... Himself - President & Co-Founder, The Breakthrough Institute
Len Koch ... Himself - Pioneering Nuclear Engineer
Charles Till ... Himself - Pioneering Nuclear Physicist
Ted Nordhaus ... Himself - Environmental Activist
... Himself - Environmental Activist (archive footage)
Amory Lovins ... Himself - Environmental Scientist (archive footage)
Helen Caldicott ... Herself - Environmental Activist
James Inhofe ... Himself - Senator, Oklahoma (archive footage)


A feature-length documentary about the history and future of nuclear power. The film explores how and why mankind's most feared and controversial technological discovery is now passionately embraced by many of those who once led the charge against it. Operating as history, cultural meditation and contemporary exploration, PANDORA'S PROMISE aims to inspire a serious and realistic debate over what is without question the most important question of our time: how do we continue to power modern civilization without destroying it? Written by RS

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What if this cube could power your entire life.




Not Rated


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

15 November 2013 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Ящик Пандоры  »

Filming Locations:



Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$22,495, 16 June 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$66,643, 4 August 2013
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Did You Know?


Himself - Author, The Making of the Atomic Bomb: The damage that was caused to people by the fallout from that "worst of all nuclear power accidents" has been remarkably limited.
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User Reviews

An Environmentalist's Dilemma - Rethinking Nuclear in the Global Warming Solution
19 April 2013 | by See all my reviews

I am an advocate of objectivity in public policy debates: Attacking the Nebula and breaking through the fog of misconceptions. I found Pandora's Promise an excellent film to re-ignite the dialog and cause people to re-examine their nuclear/anti-nuclear positions; hopefully with objectivity. The film will not likely convert one from an anti-nuclear bent to a pro-nuclear one—the topic is too complex and emotionally deep an issue and an hour and a half is too short a time for a real debate. But rather, the film should cause people to question the whether or not their beliefs are based on sound-bites or by evidence.

Environmentalists traditionally have been anti-nuclear particularly since nuclear pollution is such an emotionally frightening topic and not easy to put into context. It therefore is quite natural to believe that zero emissions is the right number. But as carbon dioxide, which was once considered a benign gas, enters into our public debate with greater concern and frequency, emissions of carbon dioxide, indeed any kind of emissions, become more and more relevant. This makes Pandora's Promise timely and relevant.

By presenting environmentalists who once were anti-nuclear but now see it a different way, and by interviewing some experts in the nuclear field, Robert Stone, takes us through a journey of discovery, as we see how some of the most common perceptions about nuclear power have little connection to solid reason. The overarching theme of the film is that when presented with facts and well-grounded research—i.e. objectivity—old anti-nuclear positions can be reversed.

As I watched the film, I made a few notes about some of the information presented and afterward spent a bit of time on the researching some of the points presented. Largely, I found good corroboration and am comfortable saying the film fairly addressed some of the many nuclear myths perpetuated over time.

While the film is largely balanced, it does succumb to the temptation of attacking an extreme position in making its case. A "60 Minutes"-type ambush of the vocal anti-nuke Helen Caldicott, making her look the fool is not debate. She is a side-show with unsupportable viewpoints. Attacking her only serves to make a nuclear advocate rejoice, but does little to inform a thinking anti-nuke. Another weakness in the film is a shallow and overly narrow handling of nuclear technology. The film dwells far too long on the integral fast reactor (IFR). The advantages and disadvantages of an IFR is in of itself a wide and broad topic which could take many hours and days to adequately explore. But there is no IFR in operation nor in construction today, so it seems quite odd when speaking about the merits of nuclear power, so much time was spent on a reactor design which is not part of the nuclear infrastructure.

So, while there is a great deal more to debate and discuss on the topic of nuclear power, Pandora's Promise presents a great case for a renewed debate, particularly amongst those interested in energy and global climate changes.

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